North American commercial vehicle maker, Navistar, has announced a partnership with global self-driving technology company TuSimple.
The two companies have entered into a strategic partnership to co-develop SAE Level 4 self-driving semis with production targeted by as early as 2024 when TuSimple plans to have national coverage.
Following a successful technical relationship between the companies for more than two years, the agreement will also see Navistar take a minority stake in the San Diego-based TuSimple as it aims to transform the $800 billion US trucking industry by enhancing safety, increasing efficiency and significantly reducing operating costs.
It is understood TuSimple is creating an autonomous network in three phases as it develops digital routes, terminals, and a monitoring system that tracks its commercial vehicles as it expands the reach of its locations.
The company, at present, operates a fleet of 40 self-driving trucks in the US, shipping freight autonomously for companies such as UPS and Penske Truck Leasing between Phoenix and Tucson in Arizona and El Paso, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio inTexas.
"Autonomous technology is entering our industry and will have a profound impact on our customers’ businesses,” said Persio Lisboa, President and CEO, Navistar.
“Navistar’s strategic partnership with TuSimple positions us to be a leader in developing solutions for our customers by leveraging our organizations’ collective expertise to integrate our vehicle design and systems integration capabilities with TuSimple’s innovative autonomous technology. This announcement marks a significant milestone in our development journey with TuSimple and we look forward to furthering our relationship in the months to come,” he said.
Navistar brings 113 years of experience in developing commercial vehicles and bringing them to the market under the International and IC Bus brands.
The program between TuSimple and Navistar will ensure a fully integrated engineering solution that will be ready for mass-production using Navistar’s vehicle manufacturing capabilities.
Customers will be able to purchase the fully autonomous trucks through Navistar’s traditional sales channels in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
“TuSimple and Navistar began joint development of pre-production units in 2018 and now we are kicking off a full go-to-market production program,” said Cheng Lu, President, TuSimple.
“We are honored to be partnered with Navistar. The investment in TuSimple and the partnership with Navistar marks an important milestone for our company. With the combined expertise of Navistar and TuSimple, we have a clear path to commercialise self-driving Class 8 trucks at scale.”
Last December, TuSimple announced results of a study conducted at the University of California San Diego that show the company’s autonomous driving technology reduced fuel consumption in heavy-duty trucks by 10 per cent when compared to traditional operations.
The company claims its autonomous freight network will be the world's first autonomous network of trucks.
TuSimple plans to demonstrate completely driverless operations in 2021.